4 hidden vacation gems
Sometimes, you want to be in the heart of the action — like in Disney World or Miami. But other times, you want to get away, discover somewhere new, ditch the crowds and unwind off the beaten path.
Here are some of our best-kept secret getaways here in the U.S.
1. Seaside, Oregon:
Seaside is a short drive from busy Portland, but it feels like a million miles away. This beachy destination will put you up close with nature. Unwind on quiet beaches or visit the aquarium. As a bonus, there’s no sales tax here, which makes the local shops even more appealing.
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2. Edwards, Colorado:
Vail, Beaver Creek and Aspen get all of the attention, but Edwards is a tiny mountain town tucked not far from Beaver Creek off the same mountain interstate. It’s a short drive to the ski slopes, but the town itself is far from touristy. This means you can find great deals and avoid the crowds.
For something extra special, head up the mountain to the gated Cordillera community, with an elegant golf resort and a mountain-top pool and hot tub that boasts the best views in the valley.
3. The Blue Hole in New Mexico:
New Mexico is known for its deserts, art district, Native culture and spicy food. But did you know New Mexico is also a great destination for Scuba diving?
The Blue Hole of Santa Rosa in New Mexico is a hidden gem, just east of Santa Rosa off old Route 66. In this natural wonder — an unexpected blue oasis in the middle of the stretch of desert — you can scuba with fish and kick around water, while you wonder how in the world this unusual geological anomaly ever came to be. It is mysterious and deep; this hole seems to go down forever.
4. Ocean Beach, California:
Skip busy San Diego and head to the charming beachfront community nearby, Ocean Beach. The “OB” is totally relaxed and unpretentious. Expect to see VW Buses, beach bums, shirtless surfers walking barefoot through downtown and plenty of art vendors and antique shops. Grab a lobster burrito to go and eat it on the beach.
You probably won’t need a car here — you can walk wherever you need to go — but in case you want to do a coastal road trip, you can score a cheap deal on rental cars at Hertz.com. Book it through ShopAtHome.com and get 3 percent Cash Back, too.
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